In a Kingdom, long ago, a generous and wise King called his son’s and his daughters to his side, in full hearing of all the courtiers, and gave a promise to his royal issue. “For one year, all of you will be evaluated by my delegates and by the public at large. Your performance as stewards and human beings will be scrutinized along with others not mentioned publicly. At the end of this quest, my delegates, together with the citizenry, will choose one of you, or one of those not mentioned, to ware the symbol of the King’s regent and thereby rule as my unrivaled second, for a period of one year.” The King added, “You have been taught well by the finest scholars concerning science, religion, philosophy, governance, and social decorum. The one aid I can give you is in the form of a remembrance. As I had always encouraged you, help one another even to your own detriment, since your siblings are more valuable for fellowship and comfort than a station in life.”
And with that final statement the King ending the court and retired to his chamber.
Well, not only was the Kingdom rife with tales and wagers, concerning the winner, many wondered who the unknown participants were. So much was the talk of the unknowns; it grated at the egos of the princes and princesses. “Should a commoner receive the regent’s amulet, we would be forced to heed their requests. We would loose face in the sight of the people,” they railed. Considering this dilemma, the Kings Children argued among themselves who should be the one that the others would support. Each sibling stated his or her qualifications and gave a great polemic of rationale, as to their deserving the honor. However, after several days they came to realize, that each had equivalence in capability, and yet none yielded to the other, so that in the end they each went their own separate way.
After several months the heirs were found engaging the public in wit, and charm, and polemics. They held feasts, and gave out presents in every town they visited. Now it came to pass that they looked everywhere, and set bribes to find who the other contestants were, but to no avail. They soon became incredibly jealous of the common opponents, and it ate at their minds and to some degree their hearts, so much so that a few of the King’s children hired assassins.
One day when they met together at the Castle a rude looking man asked them for some food.
“You smell and your station in life is worse than a pig. Go eat from the troth in the livery stable.”
Later, they met together and exchanged information concerning supporters and the whereabouts of their opponents. Upon leaving the next day to resume succoring favor by flattery and bribe, they came across an old woman who begged them for a drink from their water skin.
“We would rather give water to a dog from our skins than to a filthy wench, the likes of you,” they responded.
At the end of the year the tallies were made and the King together with his court assembled. As the King’s children waited anxiously for the verdict, the two old wayfarers were led into the court by the King’s dog and the King’s personal guard. The old woman and the old man pointed at the King’s children and said, “That’s ‘em, sire – those are the ones who refuses us, but a meager taste of victuals ‘en wautta. But God bless ye Majesty, when yous came by, justs a little later. Yous dog ran a water skin to us on yous command, and then a he came with mutton shaynk, and he was sos friendly – he was – that he licked us near clean.”
Ah, said the King, do I have a verdict from the court and the citizenry. A resounding call went up and the Chief Judge exclaimed, “Aye, your majesty, your dog wins the regency for one year.”
And with that the amulet was set upon the canine’s neck, and the citizens roundly applauded with fits of laughter and great joy. Whereupon the dog scratched at his water dish and the King’s children immediately fell upon one another, in a frenzy, to be the first to fill the water dish from their own water skin.
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Prov. 3:3,4 NIV
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘come you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was a prisoner and you came to visit me.’” Matt. 25:34-36